What Have We Done?????

“Don’t call me a hero, don’t thank me with your pretentious sentiment, don’t pretend to want my professional advice, don’t ask me for stories or if it’s “really that bad”… just don’t.

I am tired – physically, emotionally, professionally.

I am broken, burnt-out, no longer in love with my craft. And I am in the majority.

We’re exhausted, we’re drowning, we’re loosing our ability to care…


“We wanted to help people

We were smart and driven

We loved science and physiology, humans and disease

So we made a commitment

We signed up

It was an honor

We read thousands of pages

Attended hundreds of lectures

Pulled all-nighters

Took more exams than we thought possible

Finals week felt insurmountable

But it didn’t break us

It made us stronger

We learned statistics and biochemistry

Immunology and pathophysiology

We mastered genetics, virology and pharmacology

We read scientific papers and learned how to dissect them

Papers, not videos

It was an honor

We came running when you needed us

Literally, running down the hallway

To the ICU, the trauma bay, labor and delivery

I need help, you said

We can help, we said

It was an honor

There were moments that we thought would break us

Moments that drove us to journaling, to therapy, to nightmares

Broken babies.

Paralyzed children.

Dead pregnant mothers with three kids at home.

The wail of a mother whose son just died.

We bent but we did not break

We returned because you needed us

And we could help

It was an honor

Then there was fear

Fear of walking into our place of work

Fear that we’d be killed by going to work

Fear that we’d kill a loved one because of our work

There were tears and sleepless nights and anti-anxiety medications

But you banged your pots and pans

You sent us pizzas and called us heroes

You needed us

We could help

So we wore our masks, and our gowns, and our gloves, and our goggles

We decontaminated ourselves before going home and isolated ourselves from our families

We almost broke

It was an honor

How quickly the joy turned to defeat

Elation to rage

You’ve learned to do your own research now

You know better than we do

Gaslighting is your language

Your selfishness is astounding

You don’t want our help when we ask you to stay healthy

Yet you arrive at our doors begging for help at the end

You stole our resources

You hobbled our ability to help those who did what they were supposed to do

You killed our patients by filling our beds and using up our ventilators

We can’t help any more

You broke us

There is no more honor”


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